MONTCLAIR — Graham Roy was making just his fourth varsity start yesterday, but the composure the junior displayed would make one think it was his 40th game between the pipes.
Roy was superb as he turned aside 34 shots while Dan Korenbaum scored a pair of third-period goals to help carry Montclair as it upset Madison, 4-1, in the championship of the Montclair Invitational Holiday Tournament at Clary Anderson Arena.
The victory was the seventh straight for Montclair, which improved to 8-1-1 and secured its fourth tournament title in 10 years.
Pat Ledgett collected a goal and two assists and Eamon Thall also scored for Montclair. The Mounties have not lost since a 5-0 setback against Summit, No. 8 in the Hockey Night In Boston New Jersey Top 10, on Dec. 8.
“It’s a huge win for us,” said Roy, who was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. “Madison was a state-ranked team and our only loss was against Summit, another ranked team. We were pretty humbled when we lost to Summit, so we wanted to come out today and play hard against Madison. This was a great team win for us.”
This was a fast-paced contest throughout, where possession was paramount, the puck-battles were engaging all over the ice, and both clubs yielded few good scoring opportunities.
With both squads locked in a 1-1 draw it was Korenbaum who delivered the game-winning goal when he peeled off the right boards and whipped a shot at the net that hit a Madison defenseman’s skate and ricocheted past Dodgers’ goalie Matt Ubertaccio (17 saves) with 7:39 left in the third period.
“Coach (Pat) Verney always tells us that it’s the second goal that matters,” said Korenbaum, a senior forward who now has six goals and four assists in 10 games. “I curled off the boards and saw a chance to take a shot, so I was just trying to put it on net and hope something happened. It was a good shift our line had and when you work hard good things will happen. Graham (Roy) was huge for us. He stood on his head today.”
Montclair didn’t give Madison (9-2-1) a chance to respond as Ledgett scored an unassisted goal just 22 seconds later to extend the Mounties lead to 3-1.
Madison, which suffered its first defeat since a 2-0 loss to Chatham on Dec. 17, pulled Ubertaccio with a minute left but could not slice the lead; and Korenbaum put the exclamation point on the game with an empty net goal with 22 seconds remaining on the clock.
The Morris County squad erased a 1-0 deficit 3:54 into the third period when Ian Skinner came off the left wall and fired a 30-foot shot that eluded Roy through a screen for a power play goal.
“We were able to tie it up but then Montclair got those two quick goals a few minutes later,” said Skinner. “I thought we played pretty well, but their goalie was amazing. We also had that two-man advantage but couldn’t get anything out of it. Sometimes that happens in a game. You move on and get ready for the next game.”
Indeed, Madison was awarded a five-on-three power play for nearly two minutes in the second period, but behind tight defensive play from defensemen Will Schiffenhaus and John Painter and Roy’s goaltending, the Dodgers were unable to forge a lead. Dave Renzulli, Skinner and Ryan Catlin were strong for Madison and displayed their speed on several shifts.
Then with 3:43 left in the second Thall swept the puck in on a falling shot from in-close on assists
from Ledgett and Miles Bylin to give Montclair a 1-0 lead.
“Not scoring on that two-man advantage was big,” Skinner said. “It would have given us a big boost at that point to convert and have taken the lead, but we didn’t get the goal. Maybe that had an effect on us.”
Overall, Madison had a 35-21 advantage in shots.
“I’m so proud of Roy,” said Korenbaum. “It was impressive for him to do that well in a tournament championship. He was really big for us in the first period when Madison came out really strong, and then we were able to settle in. Graham held them off and our defensemen did a great job. Our back-pressure was solid.
“For us today, I think beating Madison is pretty special,” Korenbaum added. “It sends a message to the state.”
Written by Paul Bruno / @PaulBrunoHS
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